Chaplain Chat – Dealing With Conflict

Hi Everyone,

This week the school held the Book Fair! I had a look at some of the books for sale in the library and three caught my eye: “Guts” by Raina Telgemeier, “Stupid Carrots” by David Campbell, and “Butt Out” by Heath Mckenzie. All three books stood out to me because they all had the same underlying theme which was how to deal with conflict. In each book, the characters had to deal with conflict which rose up either at school, at home or conflict from differing opinions. Thus this week I would like to discuss how to help children handle conflict.

According to Kids Helpline, conflict is a normal part of a child’s life. Childmind.org highlights that no one likes to deal with conflict, however arguments, fights, and disagreements are a part of life. Thus it is important to teach children to deal with conflict in a healthy way. Kids Helpline states that if children know how to manage conflict they are also more likely to be happier, develop healthy friendships, and learn more effectively.  Kids Helpline highlights that the way children resolve conflict is dependent on several things: their age, stage of development, and life experiences. However, Childmind.org highlights that if parents help their children manage conflict effectively in early childhood, this helps them to avoid further interpersonal challenges later in life.

Kids Helpline lists the following tips to assist parents on some of the ways they can help their children (at any age) to manage and resolve conflict with others:

  1. Be a positive role model – Kids learn about resolving conflict by observing others.
  2. Create a safe environment – Allow them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of a negative or emotional reaction.
  3. Teach them strategies to calm down and help them manage their feelings – Such as deep breathing, relaxation, exercise, writing, drawing, painting, or reading one of the three books mentioned above. Ways to manage their feelings at the moment of the conflict can include counting to 10 or walking away.
  4. Teaching effective communication skills- below is a picture (From kids Helpline) that highlights some skills that can help your child communicate more effectively during a conflict:

 

For more information of how to help your children resolving conflict with others please visit the following websites:

https://kidshelpline.com.au/parents/issues/helping-kids-handle-conflict\

https://childmind.org/article/teaching-kids-how-to-deal-with-conflict/

Thank you,

Rumbi

Chaplain Chat – Helping Children Adjust to Change

Hi Everyone,

During this term, there have been a few surprises that have occurred already such as going into lockdown and adults having to wear masks again. The ANZAC weekend lockdown highlighted how quickly things can change in life. In this post, I am discussing how parents can help their children cope and navigate life changes.

According to afineparent.com, life changes are inevitable and they can be difficult for anyone of any age. Firstfiveyears.org.au highlights that a child’s resiliency is built when parents help them experience positive transitions when life suddenly changes. Furthermore, children who develop greater resilience at a young age can better manage stress and cope with other changes or challenges that occur later in life. Afineparent.com states that some common life changes that can affect children are: moving locations, divorce, and the loss of a loved one. Biglifejournal.com provided a few tips on how parents can help their children cope with big life changes, of which I will be discussing the following three:

  1. Listen to their concerns

Addressing the questions and concerns that children may have about life changes is important. Biglifejournal.com emphasizes that children simply want to be heard and understood, thus when discussing the life change/s it is important to acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings with a statement like “it is okay to feel that way”. Some children may struggle to name their feelings, so parents may need to assist them in naming or putting a label on their emotions (anxious, sad, scared, etc). This will help your child feel like their emotions are manageable and less overwhelming.

  1. Keep Routines the Same

Having some consistency and stability is important for children when major changes happen. Biglifejournal.com states that children feel safe when they have a structured life, so during times of change parents can help restore a sense of safety by having regular family routines. This means that when a change occurs in a child’s life try to stick to your usual schedule. For example, if your child is living in a second home after divorce, it may be helpful for them to have the same bed and meal times in both homes.

  1. Read Books about the Big life changes

Biglifejournal.com provides a list of 85 books that they highly recommend for specific life changes, for example:

  • If your child is dealing with changes that occur during a divorce, books like “Two Homes” and “Invisible String” are helpful.
  • If there is a new baby in the family, books such as “You Were First” and One Special Day: A Story for Big Brothers and Sisters” maybe be helpful for the older siblings.
  • If your family has had to move homes, states, or countries the following books are recommended “A Kiss Goodbye” or “Moving to the Neighbourhood”.

Change is difficult to adjust to, so I hope the above tips help you to create positive transitions during any future changes in your child’s life. If your family is currently experiencing any big life changes I would like to leave you with the following word of encouragement:

Thank you

Rumbi

 

For more information on helping children adjust to life changes please visit the following websites:

https://biglifejournal.com/blogs/blog/help-kids-cope-big-life-changes

https://www.firstfiveyears.org.au/lifestyle/helping-children-learn-to-manage-change

Chaplain Chat – Positive Thinking

Welcome back, everyone!

As I was visiting a few classrooms this week I spoke to a lot of students who were so positive and excited about returning to school to see both their peers and teachers. Also, to add to their excitement, this term there are a lot of things that are happening including cross country, school photos, lighting carnival, and lots more. Generally, at the beginning of the term students tend to have a lot of excitement and energy. However, as the term goes on their energy appears to plateau and then increase as holidays approach again. Powerofpositivity.com provides several tips on how parents can help their children cultivate positive thought patterns, which may be helpful for students to avoid experiencing the mid-term energy plateau this semester. I am sharing with you the following three tips:

  1. Be a great role model.

Powerofpositivity.com states that it is important for parents to be exemplary role models of positive thinking to their child. Children are prone to consciously and unconsciously mimic their parents, thus parents need to be aware of the mood, speech, and actions they model in front of their children.  Haim Ginot states that “children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” For example, speaking positively about the school events that your child might be anxious about participating in, such as the lighting carnival or cross country will help them view this event with more positivity and less anxiety.

  1. Be a motivator and encourager.

It is important that children feel that their parents are their number one fans. Throughout the term consistently reinforce to your children the belief that they can do their best, whether that is in: music, engineering, sport, or other subjects. Also, it important to motivate them to pick themselves up and carry on when they do not get the results they were aspiring to receive. For example, if your child does not receive the result they would have wanted for the cross country run, it is important to highlight to your child that there is always a silver lining to everything that happens. With the cross country example maybe encourage your child to try to actively improve for next year by running more during lunch, participating more in sports, or doing more physical activities on the weekends.

  1. Ask them about the positive events of their day.

Ask your child about the positive things that happened at school, instead of just asking how their day went. Powerofpositivity.com highlights that when children stay focused on thinking positively, their positive experiences will only continue to grow. So, ask questions that specifically requires them to focus on the good things they achieved at school such as helping others or making a new friend

I hope the above tips help guide you on how to motivate your children and help them to avoid the mid-term energy plateau during this eleven-week term. For more general tips on helping cultivate a positive mindset in your children, please visit the following website:

https://www.powerofpositivity.com/10-ways-to-help-kids-think-positive/

Thank you,

Rumbi

Chaplain Chat – Reduce Holiday Stress

As we enter the two weeks of school holidays, childrenwellbeing.net.au highlights that holidays can bring up a mix of emotions for parents. For some parents, the school holidays are a time to rest from the busy routine they have to maintain during the school semester. However, for other parents, this is a time of increased stress as they may have to entertain their children during the day alongside their completing their usual household tasks. I would like to provide four health tips/strategies which would be helpful for the parents in both of the above categories, to help decrease stress and have a more restful school holiday.

  1. Cook with Your Children

Easter holiday break is a time where children and adults are more likely to consume more sugar from Easter eggs or hot cross buns. So, to encourage children to eat healthily it is helpful to teach them how to cook. According to a study conducted by the Journal of nutrition education and behaviour, young adults have been observed to have better nutritional outcomes and consume less fast food when they had acquired the basic cooking skills earlier in life. School holidays are a great time to experiment with kid-friendly recipes with your children.

  1. Be Active for an Hour

According to healthdirect.gov.au, children aged five and above should have at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. Some fun activities that you could do with your children are riding bikes, skateboarding, swimming, dancing, and a lot more. According to verywellfamily.com, fresh air and exercise are essential for boosting mood which can alleviate holiday stress and anxiety.

  1. Sleep and Rest Schedule

Children need sleep for their wellbeing and development. When children get enough sleep they are happier, better able to concentrate, and improve their behaviour. So, it is important to try to stick to a child’s regular bedtime routine during the holidays. Another helpful tip to help children rest is to have a set quiet time at home to do calming and mindful activities such as reading, colouring-in or painting.

  1. Avoid Overscheduling

Limiting the number of parties or social activities can help both parents and children to not feel overwhelmed and rest during the holiday. Having obligations on a daily basis may lead to more stress and anxiety during a time where your family is meant to be resting.

Finally, I hope that you all have a safe and restful Easter school holiday. Please visit the below websites for more information on the above four points. I would also like to leave you with a little animation to go along with the above points as well.

 

Thank you

Rumbi   

https://www.verywellfamily.com/holiday-stress-and-anxiety-in-children-620516 

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/blog/healthy-things-to-do-with-your-kids-these-school-holidays

Chaplain’s Chat – Harmony Week

Harmony Week is recognized nationally and dedicated to celebrate Australia’s multicultural society. The pillar principles of Harmony Week are inclusiveness, respect, and belonging for all Australians.  These pillars are not only important in the larger Australian society but it is crucial to cultivate within our own families. When children come from families that nurture inclusiveness, respect, and belonging they are better able to express these principles to other people outside their families. Collins dictionary states that “if people are living in harmony with each other, they are living together peacefully rather than fighting or arguing”.  Unicef.org also highlights that parents are role models to peaceful and loving relationships. Furthermore, parents can nurture a peaceful and joyful family environment by modelling positive behaviour, positive language, and empathic listening. For this newsletter, I would like to expand upon how parents can model positive behaviour, positive language, and empathic listening.

  1. Role Modelling Positive Behaviour

Children are influenced by the way their parents interact with others. The way adults communicate with each other gives children a template of how they will communicate with others as well. It is essential to model peaceful and respectful behaviour. This could look like using manners and talking kindly to others with your family and community.

  1. The Power of Positive Language

According to Unicef.org, there are two ways that parents can create a more peaceful home environment through positive language. The first way is to avoid telling others what you do not want them to do, rather tell them what you want them to do. For example, if someone is being loud instead of saying “stop shouting” try saying “please speak quietly”. The second way is through praise. Praising and affirming family and others around you will make them feel respected and appreciated. This could be done by simply saying “thank you” for what they have done for you or saying “good job”. Your child will pick up the positive language that you use and they will use it to make others around them feel appreciated and respected.

  1. Be an Empathetic Active Listener

Listening to family members and others in your community can be done by showing them that you are open to hearing what they need to say and this helps them to feel like they belong. To show others that you are an active listener you can start by summarizing what you heard the other person saying such as “what I hear you saying is”. If you model empathic active listening to your children, this will allow them to do the same to their peers, teachers, and others in the community.

Finally, I would like to leave you with the following quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Peace, like charity begins at home”. If children can see what it looks like to live in a peaceful, respectful, and inclusive environment at home, they will be able to foster harmonious relationships with others outside their immediate family.

For more information on cultivating a harmonious family environment, please visit:

https://www.unicef.org/vietnam/stories/family-harmony-home

Thank you,

Rumbi

School Chaplain

Rest and Self-Care

Hi Everyone,

Rest and Self Care

As most of us have enjoyed an extra day of rest due to the long weekend, I would like to discuss the topic of rest and self-care. According to Raisingchildren.net.au, looking after yourself is essential. Self-care allows you to be the best version of yourself and in turn the best parent, wife/ husband, boss, co-worker, etc. Looking after yourself is not only beneficial for you but when you actively take care of your mental, physical and social well-being it sets you up to give your best to your children so that they can thrive and grow as well. With the busyness of life and balancing so many components, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. With this post, I would like to provide a few practical tips on how to take care of your physical, mental/emotional, and social well-being.

Physical wellbeing

According to Psychology Today, physical wellbeing is the ability to improve the functioning of your body through healthy living and good exercise habits. Some of the things you can do to improve your physical wellbeing are:

  1. Stay active. Exercising regularly not only helps you get physically fit but helps you feel better. There are many fun and different ways of exercising (cycling, walking, weightlifting, etc.), so find what works best for you and your schedule.
  2. Healthy Food. Nourish your body with foods that will give you sustained energy throughout your day such as home-cooked meals made with whole-foods. Also, limiting takeout as well as foods with lots of caffeine, sugar, and high-fat.
  3. Raisingchildren.net.au states that there are two golden rules to resting. Firstly, go to bed early. Secondly, have a nap if possible.

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Psychology Today defines emotional wellbeing as the ability to practice stress-management and relaxation techniques, be resilient, boost self-love, and generate the emotions that lead to good feelings. There are many challenges that come from raising a family which can lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. To help deal with stress the following components may be helpful:

  1. Writing or journaling. You may like to focus on writing about the things you are grateful for or anything frustrating you at the time.
  2. Speak to trusted people about how you are feeling. This could be your partner, family members, or close friends.
  3. Take time to do activities that you enjoy such as cooking, watching a movie, or walking. Find time to do it alone or even with your family.

Social Well-being

Psychology Today states that social well-being is the ability to communicate, develop meaningful relationships with others, and maintain a support network that helps you overcome loneliness. You may like to take the following steps to help improve your social well-being:

  1. Seek assistance from support services such as parenting hotlines, which can help you cope with the challenges of raising a family.
  2. Asking family or a friend for support if needed (for example to babysit).
  3. Make time out of your busy schedule to nurture your closest relationships. This can include having a date night with your partner or having a coffee with a close friend.

Lastly, I would like to leave you with the following quote:

Thank you,

Rumbi

For more information about self-care as a parent or caregiver please visit the following websites:

https://raisingchildren.net.au/grown-ups/looking-after-yourself/parenting/looking-after-yourself

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/self-care-support-for-parents-caregiver-14

https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/self-care-strategies-for-parents-no-time#1-minute

https://parents.au.reachout.com/skills-to-build/wellbeing/things-to-try-self-care/how-to-make-self-care-a-family-priority